SOUTH Gippsland’s frontline health and emergency service workers will soon be wearing surgical face masks donated by Toora-based ViPlus Dairy.

The 50,000 TGA-approved masks worth up to $100,000 are the direct result of a major act of international goodwill by the company.

ViPlus Dairy chief executive Jon McNaught said the company had made a significant donation of everyday household and consumer items to support the residents of Wuhan in China.

In response, the Province of Hubei sent much-needed health and medical items to Australia which were purchased by ViPlus.

Among the medical items were 150,000 face masks, many more than the company needed to continue production at Toora.

Mr McNaught said the company decided to donate the excess masks with 50,000 to be used in South Gippsland and 50,000 going to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for use across the rest of Victoria.

South Gippsland Shire Council is working with DHHS and Gippsland Primary Health Network to organise a coordinated and effective distribution across the region.
“We’re just doing our little bit to help,” Mr McNaught said.

“We appreciate everything those frontline people do. We can’t drive an ambulance or do surgeries, but we can do this.”

Mr McNaught also outlined changes to ViPlus Dairy’s operations at Toora during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workforce has been divided into split teams, with no crossover between shifts, and the temperatures of all staff are monitored every day.

Visitor access to the site has been restricted, extra cleaning is carried out, extra PPE is used, and the management team is working remotely.

ViPlus’s initial donation of relief packages valued at more than US$360,000 included 31 pallets of adult and kids milk powder being delivered via a chartered flight.